Boeing’s folding wings could save airlines money, but you’ll still get nickeled and dimed

boeings folding wing design save airlines money youll still nickeled dimed boeing 777x 1

Over in Dubai this past weekend, Boeing finally unveiled its highly anticipated new airplane, the 777x. If you have read any of the business news surrounding the aircraft, then you know it sold like gangbusters – Boeing took in 259 orders for a plane that isn’t even scheduled to take flight until 2020. So, why are airlines (mainly ones based in the Gulf) flocking to this new jet? It’s the promise of cost-savings, thanks to new engine and wing technology.

The 777x isn’t a completely new plane, but the next evolution of the 777, one of Boeing’s best-selling models (if you’ve ever flown long-haul to Europe or Asia, you’ve most likely traveled in a 777). As airlines continue to cut costs, they are looking to more fuel-efficient planes, like Boeing’s 787 and Airbus’s upcoming A350. In addition, the 777x (dubbed the “mini jumbo”) is attractive because it has large capacity, flies far, is familiar to pilots, etc.

In order to make the 777x more efficient, Boeing is using a new engine from GE Aviation, called the GE9X, and longer composite wings based on the technology used in the 787. While longer wings can improve efficiency, it’s a problem for airports that can’t accommodate them (it’s one reason why many airports cannot handle the larger Airbus A380 double-decker). As a solution, the ends of the 777x’s wings will fold up when the plane is on the ground, shortening the wingspan by 20 feet.


Every airline in the world is looking to buy new planes that are more economical to fly (Gulf-based airlines, which are looking to become global juggernauts, depend on these large, long-haul planes to shuttle travelers between Asia, Europe, and the Americas), and plane makers from Boeing to Airbus, Bombardier to Embraer are working on designing more fuel-efficient models. Fuel is often cited as the main operational expense, and reduced costs equate more savings. However, don’t expect airlines to lower fares. Despite these more efficient airplanes, airlines will continue to charge its customers fees wherever they can.

(Via MIT Technology Review; images via Boeing)

Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…

Lyft has a new fixed-price subscription plan for frequent passengers

Lyft wants you to save money by using rideshare services instead of owning a car. The new Lyft All-Access Plan monthly rideshare trip subscription includes 30 rides a month with a small discount for additional trips.

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.
Smart Home

Gas dryers vs. electric dryers: Knowing the difference could save you some dough

Whether you buy an electric dryer or a gas dryer may depend solely on your setup, unless you want to spend money to get a gas hookup for your home. But if you have a choice, there are some differences to take into account.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.